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What are the defenses for drug possession charges?

Being accused of a crime is a difficult situation for Iowa residents to be in. Accusations alone have the ability to harm a person's reputation, thus, it is important to take the matter seriously. This means understanding the charges they face, the penalties that could result and the defense strategies that are available.

Drug crimes can fall within the category of minor and major criminal offenses. If an individual is accused of possessing a small quantity of certain types of drugs, this could result in minimal penalties. However, if a defendant is accused of possession of large quantities of certain controlled substances, this could result in felony charges that carry harsh penalties.

What are the defenses for drug possession charges? The most common way a defendant contends a possession charge is by asserting that there was an unlawful search and seizure. This occurs when a defendant's Fourth Amendment right was violated due to a search and seizure that was not supported by a search warrant, arrest warrant or probable cause. IF evidence used against a defendant were collected unlawfully, it is possible to suppress this evidence.

Next, a defendant could assert that the drug in question belong to someone else. This defense option relies on the defendant's ability t o prove that they had no knowledge of the drug or its location, even if they were found in their vehicle, home or personal belonging. Other defense options include seeking a crime lab analysis to prove that the drugs are what they really are, claiming that there are missing drugs, asserting that the drugs were planted or using an entrapment defense.

No matter what criminal defense strategy a defendant uses, it is important that they understand the strength of each of these for their particular case. No all defense options are valid in every case, so it is essential to understand which ones will benefit a defendant the most.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Drug Possession Defenses," accessed August 13, 2017

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J. Dean Keegan and Thomas D. Farnsworth, Attorneys at Law
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